Windows

First take on Windows 8: Two things wrong and one thing right

Microsoft provided its first public demo of Windows 8 this week. The UI looked flashy, but Microsoft is still trying to marry tablets and desktops, and it could ruin the standard version of Windows this time.

Microsoft has given us a first taste of Windows 8. Unfortunately, while it has some attractive visual elements, Microsoft's approach shows that the company hasn't learned much from its product failures over the past decade.

My first impression is that there are two big problems with what Microsoft is doing in Windows 8, but there's also one change where the old software behemoth is on the right track. Take a look at Microsoft's first five-minute demo video of Windows 8 and then read my analysis below.

The Windows 8 demo

The video below was released on Wednesday evening to coincide with Windows President Steven Sinofsky offering the first public demo of Windows 8 at the All Things Digital conference (a.k.a. D9). In this video, Jensen Harris, director of program management for the Windows User Experience, provides a quick walk-through and promises that more video demos will be coming soon.

One thing right

Alright, first for the positive. Microsoft is finally getting serious about multitouch, which users love for its simplicity. The new UI that it showed off at D9 and in the Web video obviously draws a lot of influence from Microsoft's recent work on Zune and Windows Phone 7. Although Microsoft says this new Windows 8 UI will be used for desktops, laptops, and tablets, the demo is on a 10-inch tablet and it's pretty clear that this is Microsoft's answer to the iPad, which has been doggedly eating into the sales of Windows PCs. The UI looks clean and self-evident, and it introduces some nice UI innovations for multitasking that a lot of tablet users will appreciate.

Microsoft has been doing touch interfaces for a long time. The original Windows CE (a.k.a. Windows Mobile) had basic touch. Microsoft Surface has sported advanced multitouch gestures and a multitouch UX. But, Microsoft has allowed Apple, Google, HTC, Samsung, and others to outflank them in winning over the masses to multitouch devices.

Think about this. At the D5 conference four years ago when Microsoft's Bill Gates and Apple's Steve Jobs shared the stage, both of them had forthcoming multitouch products to boast about. Jobs had the iPhone and Gates had Microsoft Surface -- and, at the time, the tech community was excited about both. The iPhone has sold over 90 million units since then, and spun off massive sales of the iPod Touch and the iPad as well. The Microsoft Surface is now available in a dozen bars in Las Vegas.

Two things wrong

There are two big issues with what Microsoft is trying to do in Windows 8, although they both boil down to the fact that the company is still trying to be all things to all people, and as a result it's unlikely to make any of its customers fully happy.

First, let's talk about Microsoft's shotgun approach to product development in Windows 8. On Wednesday, Windows president Steven Sinofsky said, "It's 'no compromise' and that's really important to us."

When I hear "no compromise," it usually means "no discipline." Microsoft has always been afraid to offend any of its potential customers, so it typically piles tons of features on top of the existing codebase and ends up with a Frankenstein monster like Microsoft Office.

When I first heard about Microsoft's Windows 8 plans on Wednesday night, I posted on Twitter that my translation of "no compromise" was a lack of discipline. I got several great responses from tech professionals who agreed, but the best was from @dgackey, who wrote, "When you say 'no' to nothing, it usually means you know nothing about your market."

What Sinofsky is referring to when he says "no compromise" is that tablets running Windows 8 will run tablet apps, HTML5 apps, and traditional Windows apps, and that Windows 8 itself will run on both traditional PCs as well as tablets.

I would have thought Microsoft learned its lesson here. It has already tried to take the full version of Windows 7 and run it on tablets. These "slates" -- as Microsoft calls tablets -- have gotten trounced by the iPad. Now, Microsoft has decided to take the full version of Windows and make sweeping UI changes so that it's much more tablet-friendly and then apply all of those changes to the standard desktop/laptop version of Windows as well. Say what?

That leads me to the second big issue with Windows 8 -- it just might ruin the core Windows product that powers most of today's laptops and desktops. A touch-based UI focuses on large icons and images and imprecise actions (to accomodate different sized fingers). Meanwhile, a traditional UI for a standard mouse and keyboard has much smaller, more complex, and more precise actions and navigational elements. By forcing the tablet-focused Windows 8 UI on traditional Windows, Microsoft could end up removing much of the power and precision that most users rely on to do their daily work.

Microsoft would be much better off just creating a tablet OS, while continuing to tweak and innovate its desktop/laptop OS for users who demand the power, precision, and versatility they get from it. Sure, there will be a lot of users who only need a tablet, and there will be plenty of users who will want a tablet as their secondary computing device. But, declawing the standard version of Windows in order to better compete with the iPad is not the right answer.

Also read

About

Jason Hiner is the Global Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and Global Long Form Editor of ZDNet. He is an award-winning journalist who writes about the people, products, and ideas that are revolutionizing the ways we live and work in the 21st century.

213 comments
msssltd
msssltd

First impressions of Windows 8... A small step forward for entertainment computing and the 6ft interface. A small step forward for mobile computing. The biggest backward step in general purpose business computing the World is ever likely to see. I have made my living off the back of Windows since Windows was invented. I don't have the luxury of being a massively cash rich corporation. To remain in business I have to listen to my customers. Since Vista and Office 2004 launched my growth areas have been Linux, Macs, Open Office and the refurbished PCs that you can still buy with XP Pro on them. Most of my small business customers are extremely worried, wondering what they are going to do when their XP Pro and SBS 2003 hardware needs replacing. It's very simple really. Businesses need desktops that focus on user productivity. Up to XP, that's what Windows did, as each new release was an evolutionary improvement. There were some features you could point at and say, that's going to save you money or provide an edge and make it worth the pain of upgrading. And the pain of upgrading did not include having to throw away 15 years of investment in training the staff to use the UI and the techs to support them. The cost of staff productivity lost to an unfamiliar UI is causing businesses to look at alternatives. The alternatives are looking more like the Windows people are familiar with, with each new release of Windows! OSX and Linux are both currently playing catch up in the seamless networking departments which is providing Microsoft a reprieve. The competition is catching up though and if Microsoft do not start providing for the simple needs of large and small business customers soon, they are likely to go the same way as IBM. The Windows product line needs to be streamlined and distinguished. I don't want 7 indistinguishable flavours of the same thing. I want 2 very distinct flavours. One flavour, clean and simple for my office, so I can focus on what my business does. Another flavour, with the bright, candied, whistles and bells, for my living room and smart phone, for entertaining me and the kids.

jfreedle2
jfreedle2

I require that on my portable computer, UNDER ALL CIRCUMSTANCES shall I be able to install the EXACT same software from my desktop computer to my portable computer. A device like the iPad is worthless as it runs paired down applications that just drive the cost higher, not to mention that Apple's implementation is totally horriable.

krishantha1984
krishantha1984

despite many facts against MS products, MS will continue to rock, apple, linux and other crappy OS's suck big time

Andrea Borman
Andrea Borman

When Windows Vista came out,most people did not get on with it. So they did not upgrade,or they just refused to buy a new computer. To avoid Windows Vista. And because it was not so popular,they were still making Windows XP computers. So then,a year ago, you could buy Windows XP if you wanted it. I hope that if they make Windows 8 they will still sell Windows 7 computers and laptops as well. Then we can avoid Windows 8. But this year they stopped selling Windows XP and Windows Vista computers and laptops. So unless you are lucky to find the last in stock,you can only buy Windows 7. But most people don't mind that because Windows 7 is the same or similar to Windows XP, but with a few extra features. And most software made for Windows 98 and Windows XP works on Windows 7. In fact all the web browsers,media players and chat messengers made for Windows XP work on Windows 7. Except for Internet Explorer 6 and 7 and Outlook Express.But who wants that anyway? But Windows 8 seems to be a completely different system as not only is the desktop layout different but it is a lot different from what Windows users have known. And I don't like it. And also people have said that a lot of the software we are using now on Windows XP,Windows Vista and Windows 7,will not work on Windows 8. So that is another reason I do not want Windows 8. And another great thing about Windows is that on Windows XP,Windows Vista and Windows 7 you do not have to log in with a password or have a password if you do not want one. So I don't, and User Account Control is permanently disabled,and so I do everything on my computer without having to enter a password. Unlike on Linux where you are forced to have a password. On Linux you have to log in with a password and enter it every time you do something on your own computer. But on Windows you do not have to have a password if you do not want one. And on Linux you cannot install software from the Internet.So if the software you want is not in the package manager then you cannot have it. And I cannot use Linux now anyway, as since my ISP upgraded the home hubs I and other people cannot connect to the Internet on Linux. But I can on Windows with no problems. Will this too be a problem on Windows 8 because it is so different? And I don't want to use Linux or Mac which at 1000pounds a laptop I cannot afford anyway. That's why I have Windows but now they want to make a Windows 8 that looks like Linux. I hate that. So one way to avoid Windows 8,don't upgrade and if you don't have an extra laptop buy it now while you can still get Windows 7. Then if they do stop making Windows 7,you won't have to buy a Windows 8 computer and be stuck with Windows 8. P.S, another website warned us that if we have an old computer we should get Windows 7 now " or you will be stuck with a Windows that is ugly and far worse than Windows Vista,that is known as Windows 8." These were their words anyway. Actually Windows Vista,although not good for Netbooks is very much like Windows 7. In fact they both look alike, but Windows 7 is faster. But to have Windows 8? No, not the way they plan to make it. A thousand times NO. Andrea Borman.

dwdino
dwdino

... in the proper use case. Look at the propose HP tablets with cameras and full connectivity (wireless, cell, usb, mini-dvi, etc.). Now imagine a smart docking station. Here is how Win8 could be a superior product. You walk into your work/office/computer room and slap the device into the dock first thing in the morning. Being that it is docked, it loads the standard Windows desktop. You sit down and use it like a normal computer. Standard apps, standard interfaces. At lunch, you have an appointment. You pack up and snatch your tablet out of the dock on the way. At the resteraunt you pull the tablet out. It wakes up, adjusts to undocked mode and notifies that wireless access is available and asks to connect to wireless or cellular. The touch interface provides access to mobility apps and your document you were working on earlier. You colaborate with your peers over lunch and place the tablet back in your bag. You get home and dock your tablet again. The full desktop is presented and away you go. The day finishes, and you snag the tablet on the way to the couch. The disply swings to touch interface and you read material and watch streamed movies. This is the paradigm. One device, capable of all uses. Why have all these devices when one can adapt to current requirement. It will require a unique piece of hardware, but it can deliver huge benefits.

rob
rob

UI stolen from powerpoint! Looks horrendous, it doesnt have any of the panache that other tablets offer in fluid transition between screens.

iworsfold
iworsfold

The impression I got from the video was that the touch interface reminded me of Media Centre running over the top of Windows. To be honest I don't seen anything new here. My concern is all you'll get is a thick operating system which at start up runs the Windows Touch with a few apps and nothing special. If Microsoft expects to be able to have a full Windows OS and full Office suite to run on a tablet, then I cannot see how this is going to work without performance taking a big hit. And it???s the performance and reliability that will be more important than ever for it to work. Its still early to make a final judgment. But what I'm hoping is that what we've seen is only for Laptops and Desktops. Tablets it???s a bit different as unlike Desktops and indeed Laptops the range of hardware used in tablets released in a lot more restrictive. For example i cannot see you upgrading the graphics adapter or Processor. Rather it???s more like a throw away PC. This would make it easier for Microsoft to reduce the OS layer by including only the drivers and services required. Therefore it???s possible that tablets will not have a Start menu at all. There you would only be able to install tablet based Apps or access other application via a web portal such as Office Web Apps. Therefore your idea of bringing a new OS every 6 months or rather every year may not be that far from the truth. Only instead of a complete new OS it'll be more like a new table UI update.

loidab
loidab

Observing the trend probably MS will end up bringing DOS towards the end of 2050 with a polished look & feel. It's no wonder why people still stick with XP / Server 2008 in corporate environments where speed and performance are important rather than touch & gloss unlike win7! Why not bringing a new OS in every six months interval? :-)

sol_xpert
sol_xpert

Microsoft is and always will be #1 . imagine a world without Microsoft !? very dull indeed... Greatness is always a target for attacks , yet it makes the Great even Greater . iPad is nice , but i can safely bet that by the time MS gets in the Ring , iPad will look like a toy when compared to MS Tablet . wait and see ...

'techy'
'techy'

Looks to me that you can choose to be in the windows interface we are all accustomed to or you can switch over to the touch friendly side of the platform. As you said, Microsoft tries to please everyone, and, truth be told, I believe people are really going to like the choice of which UI to use in realtime. I could see households really getting into this, where, they have one computer to fix those that like touch and those that like keyboard and mouse. What's all this dissing Microsoft for wanting to put a product out there to be friendly to everyone? Tell me, what company doesn't have that goal? Who on this post feels that they wish there was office on their tablet iOS, Android, WebOS? Seriously, giving people all the resources they need to do what they want is genius. I wish I could go out and do exactly what I can do on my desktop at home or at work, on my tablet. I have an iPad and when I want to use it for a conference, I can't follow the slides or a pdf copy of the presentation without being on wireless because the slides are on the web, there's an app for that (duh), and iOS 5 will fix that, but that just comes naturally in windows. I think Microsoft putting windows 8 on every platform is a good move because they have a good place to start, and they already have all the basic features that we take for granted available built in. For an IT Pro, a windows 8 tablet will give you all the features you need to do your job, other tables running a 'tablet os' will most likely not.

kctechnet
kctechnet

I wouldn't be surprised if it worked the same as Media Center in Windows 7 where you can start up/use it in 'Tablet' mode. You would then still have the option to use the standard Windows OS. The nice thing here is you would have the full OS and other software if needed. The downside... is it may not compare to the speed of iOS or Android as it would be running a plethora of other services, etc in the background. I would still opt for this though over iOS/Android as it would give me the flexibility I need to manage my company network, development, etc through software licenses I already own. I can wait an extra 2-10 seconds for that flexibility.

mhtaylor
mhtaylor

GUI and graphics designers can have fun - but not at my expense please! For Windows 8, please give me the default of a clean desktop without visual clutter - for icons, folders grouping icons, and a plain background.

lj284
lj284

I am displeased with the direction that Microsoft seems to be taking lately. I have posted about the lack of a dedicated searchbox in IE9 and it's Crome-ish look. I liked the look of the old. Now Win 8 is looking to go and abandon those who like the Win 7 look just like it abandoned those who liked the Win 5 look. What gives here? A UI should be an INTERFACE for the USER. It is not the OS, it is the interface to the OS. Keep improving the OS - Yes. Don't keep throwing away the UI. My business customers HATE MOVING. It entails a lot of USER change and that means training and that means expense. More business customers would be happy with Windows the OS if the USER INTERFACE was USER SELECTABLE. -my two cents

robert.a.hatcher
robert.a.hatcher

Been doing Microsoft since DOS 1.2. I have observed a pattern of every other version of OS being from the launch as a pretty good package. This of course means the opposite (from my perspective) of the version between the above. So to cut this short Windows 8 or whatever name they giving it I plan on NOTpurchasing. Of course I will take a look at it from Technet Professional to se if this trail of logic actually does continue.

jbaviera
jbaviera

So, from what I've seen in the video, it's just going to be another bloated system that MS thinks we need to do the things that they "think" we do, in only the way they want us to do, but not necessarily the we we really do things.

AnsuGisalas
AnsuGisalas

Specifically, they need to embrace localcloud computing, making a desktop or laptop or notop OS (notop is a desktop-like box without peripherals, no screen, no keyboard, it serves as a cloudhub for home devices and handhelds) which is good at what it does (power use) and which is extremely good at securely meshing with handheld and wireless devices of all kinds. If they can make it so that a tablet and wireless keyboard can easily serve as remote peripherals for a notop machine, that'd be worth something. Then private clould becomes a new PC, the Personal Cloud. To mesh with that, of course, they need a handheld OS with a focus on lighter computing, hand-off to cloud and meshing with wireless devices.

mattohare
mattohare

Some mouse actions and keystrokes get lost while the operation system is handling some background process. And that happens, at times, with no warning to the user. Even as I type this into IE9, i'm having keyboard latency issues. (That with only Flash and Java enabled for add-ons.) Then, MDI has become less stable and less predictable for the last few Windows versions. Finally, they've messed up the Alt+Tab order on windows to where it's become totally unpredictable.

Ninja1507
Ninja1507

As soon as I saw the huge Icons I thought to myself "Looks like it will be another Vista" what I mean by that is it looks too "User Friendly, and Innovative" to do any real work. and With vista it was just its instability and slow speeds I hated. But these features could really interfere with my work. Besides, I prefer the Icon based UI of windows 7. I hope 8 will have a way to turn off their "Innovations". Windows XP was the last OS I had very little to complain about. 7 Is also very good. But your crazy if you think I'm having that on my desktop. I can have 6-8 windows open at a time. (With multi-monitor) That will destroy my productivity. However I did see what looks like an almost win7 interface for older programs. Lets just hope there is a way to make it permanent and just close out the process with its Start Screen.

adders794
adders794

Why don't Microsoft sell a base OS and then you can choose optional parts to customize to any platform as you wish. I myself don't, at present use a tablet, so therefore don't need all the extra UI touch screen stuff, I just want a decent workable OS. In the future if I start using a 'slate' I can just purchase the add-on. Simples!

remjr
remjr

As the sole IT person for a medium sized company with only about 3% of my "clients" truly tech-savvy and the rest "do as I show them how", I see nothing but a nightmare in this new WIN version. they will not understand the metaphor and I will be spending all of my time training and re-training our employees. Unless MS rolls out a tablet version and a desktop version with a GUI similar to what everyone is familiar with, We will hold out to the last dying second of WIN 7 before we make a change.

jasondlnd
jasondlnd

Microsoft is releasing this video of this early version of Windows 8 because of the recent Steve Ballmer flap? I mean, come on...very rarely does a company show you things that are still in alpha that are radically different from what is on the market. It's doing its job, though...creating buzz.

Hazydave
Hazydave

For Linux and Apple, anyway.. nothing would drive me away from Windows faster than any degree of force feeding the metro UI on the desktop. The very notion of a touch interface indicates a compromise -- I trade speed and precision for easy porability. And even at that, Metro is far less capable than Android or iOS in this. Smells faintly of Bob, in fact. Yes, its very easy to use.. I picked up a Win7Phone a friend has (yes, at least one sale in South Jersey) and used it without RTFMing. But no real advantage over iOS or Android. And here's the thing... I'm going to use my smartphone or tablet nearly every day. I'll be a beginner just that first day. An OS should be adaptive to my knowledge of the OS. But if, as with most, the UI is fixed, it needs to be optimized for the 1000th day of use, not the first. I will spend most of my time with an OS as an experinced user, not a neophyte. Microsoft is going all "New Coke" on us here.

Albert Myles
Albert Myles

Jason, Normally I agree with you but this time I think you have it wrong. What I saw earlier thsi week was Microsoft almost knocking it out of the park. OK maybe that is taking it a little too far but I do believe that MS is on the right track And here is why. First off, why NOT have the same interface for tablets as Desktops? Why not have a consistant interface across phones, PDAs, tablets, and PCs? Apple is doing the same with with iOS/OSX. Why is it OK for them and not MS. Of course this is subjective, but I believe the Metro UI to be superior to the iOS interface for scalability. But again thats my opinion. As far as th eno compromise.........It remains to be seen exacly how everything will play out, but having different application types is nothing new for MS. Just look at how my TYPES of windows applications there are. I don't believe Abstracting a few more will be all that detrimental. When thinking about using the big interface with a mouse, I remember Windows MEdia Center. It works great with a keyboard and mouse. Of course time will tell how Productivity apps will make the transition.

cvcodling
cvcodling

I could not agree more -- for those "constrained" with mice & keyboads, keep the OS with those strengths. Get off the "all things to all people" approach and make Win-8 UI its own Tablet/Slate OS. If there is 60% common code, it is yours to manage, Microsoft. Return to a market where you have and can excel by separating the tablet OS from the keyboard/desktop OS.

edward.j.obrien
edward.j.obrien

I am a long time lover of Microsoft and I will usually defend to the death my reasons when comparing Windows with other operating systems. (Except Vista)! But when I turned to this article that basic instinct - "well, I don't have to buy it" - entered my thought train long before I finished watching the video or reading the article. It is this auto-rejection that makes me decide that Microsoft has got this wrong. As Jason points out, being all things to all people is not a viable marketing option. For the tablet? Okay... But either standing up or stretching out to operate a touch-screen desktop..? No way! And who has their monitor stuck to the wall! I see desktop users sticking with what they've got in numbers that will make the Windows XP adherents after Vista look like a mere sprinkling. The end result here will be, as always, disappointed millions. We can only hope the techies at Microsoft take time to listen to the experts who deal every day with the end users.

kiran_chaturvedula
kiran_chaturvedula

Since the "Markets" existed A product that satisfies more wishes was the one with high demand. Remember IPAD was not the first tablet to be available, also IPHONE is not the first smart phone, but they succeeded because they had a market existing. Probably, Microsoft was biting time to see if any of these created more market in business, enterprise, gaming and home entertainment where it has an definitive edge. So, it seems the right time for Microsoft to utilize the market they have created for nearly 3 decades. Think about a dedicated Windows user or an enterprise which started when every one used "Windows" as a synonym to PC. This market segment now understands the potential of Tablets that would run the same platform on both. It is this portability which creates more market and it is an excellant strategy because any one or enterprise who is loooking for a tablet that integrates seamlessly to his desktop will find Windows 8 ideal. The point that sounds crazy to me is Windows trying to pile up too many things in order to make it compatible!!!laughs Man anybody moving to tablets will not bury his Desktop. The compatibility is critical and would allow Microsoft to deliver unprecedent customer support with automated diagnostics tools which can be downloaded through desktop, tested on a tablet and finally "RUN" on a smart phone. Isnt this brilliant! All Apple guys "better go back to MAC and see that it gains more users". The second wrong thing pointed out is the one which is least of any to worry about.......Folks! simply select a theme that would bring back the look you always used and wished to have it for ever. Remember, after all it was Microsoft and Bill Gates who made many people in the East to call a PC as "Windows" rather than a desktop or personal computer. Steve Jobs thinks about building beautiful devices while Bill Gates thinks about building the Future of mankind in his own right. Apologies for any offending statements as English has always been my neighbors tongue. Thx.

mike
mike

I had long wondered when the Linux market would get their act together and collaberate on a desktop model that would rival windows and truly make their mark. If I had the resources and time (with "Time" being MY biggest factor) I would produce a product called "PORTALS" (remember this name!). It would finally take the disparate Linux brands and supply a desktop that functions in and for the desktop pc market. I would not and do not expect a Linux desktop brand for the workplace to be less problematic than Windows, but at least we could control the flavors to suit each disciple. Whether true desktop pc, or tablet, touch or I/O based, the product/s would severely reduce the footprint of the Gorilla substantially and maybe then the marketplace could receive more attention rather than be led around by a ring piercing the nose. "Portals" because they are similar to windows but the heiarchy would / could be circular and provide access to files and programs in the same methodology the brain works. Sometimes our minds screw up and that is why I never expect any software to ever be truly free from bugs. I wish I could say that abount my brain but it has gotten me in more trouble than anything else. My brain farts have occurred at the most inopportune times, thereby reinforcing the Murphy's law theorem. So if we can finally put our heads together, we might actually accomplish something other than verbal bashing of this or that in a manner more prevalent than MOOT

clmelson
clmelson

I dont like it. I like my PC the way it is. I love my mouse and keyboard. one of my pet peeves is finger prints on my monitor. the last thing i want is a mac on my pc.

09wwuer0sdvfojkasdfk
09wwuer0sdvfojkasdfk

Many of you are missing the point entirely. First, if you are in IT, this means another decade of job security - a new UI paradigm that will surely bring confusion, need to train, and copy cat versions from "the others." Second, for those of you who pretend to be in IT, but really just live in your Mom's basement, consider this: this new OS will certainly be mated to Kinect in the very near future. That means the only Cheetos stained items will be your little members as you won't be forced to use keyboard, mouse, or screen to move from app to app, porn vid to porn vid. Imagine the possibilities! Last, wasn't it just a few weeks ago most of you were wetting yourselves over the Chrome OS, and how slick it was to remove all the UI to a simple web interface? Now all of you are clammering for a cludgy old XP interface? Give me a break.

tarose.trevor
tarose.trevor

this UI doesnt look like the kind of thing i would want to run on a desktop, because i like my desktop to give me the power to choose what i do & how i do it, and that whole thing just looks inconvenient to me (for a desktop)... looks great for a tablet though, and i would encourage MS to dump the idea of putting it on a desktop... instead, develop it as a tablet / smartphone OS, and then retrospectively see which things you can offer OPTIONALLY to desktop users, but just dont IMPOSE stuff on us like that because it is NOT helpful... the whole point of a desktop / server is POWER, because no matter how powerful you make a small device (laptop or tablet or phone), a bigger device has more space for more powerful components (not to mention cooling)... so it is just impossible to make a small device as powerful as the most powerful big ones... the more powerful the small ones become, the even more powerful the big ones become... simple ...in fact, what would make a lot more sense, and i know they wont like this because they will see it as giving up market instead of winning it back (but thats only because like a lot of other business people, they dont think straight, and they need a techie to tell them the bleeding obvious)... so as i was saying, what would make a lot more sense, is to merge their desktop & server products, giving more power to the desktop user from the server product... because ultimately the separation of desktop & server is really just an illusion created for making money, and linux has proven that... and if they want to win market back from linux, they need to offer more of this kind of flexibility... you could effectively end up with 2 main products: Win Desktop/Server or Win Tablet/Smartphone, and then just have different configurations of each of those two which can be done either by the user or by the store they buy it from... imagine that MS... imagine if, on my desktop at home, i could run SharePoint, not just the broken down version you offer... what if i could also run Exchange? ...what would this mean to the end user? it means more people could pick up those things and play with them & use them at home, turning their homes more easily into home offices & so forth... and remember, I CAN DO THIS ALREADY WITH LINUX FOR FREE... so why is it again that we not only have to pay for separate products here with MS, but also pay such a huge rate for the server one? ...if the open source community can figure out how to make this work commercially for them (and they have), how come microsoft still hasnt caught up so many years later? ...have you not even been thinking about how to change your business model? ...ffs MS, just ask me if you cant think of a way, its not that hard

Gis Bun
Gis Bun

Anolther blogger complaining about some issues when the product is maybe 18 months away from being released. Maybe by the time it has been released, the installation will choose a default icon size [and whatever else] for tablets compared to everything else. They will make a *BIG* mistake if they drastically change the UI like they did with Vista. They are better off giving a choice [like XP did]. I'm personally tired of trying to figure out where certain things are located [i.e. netword adapter settings in Vista/Win7 compared to XP/2000].

adornoe
adornoe

And, criticizing the effort before the final results are in, is quite a bit premature. Look, Windows 8 does not have to be an exact copy of the OS into every hardware form-factor. The OS can be branded Windows 8 for all devices, while the performance is optimized and/or minimized, depending upon what the OS detects that it's getting loaded into. Thus, the Windows 8 for tablets won't be configured the same as for PCs or for smartphones. The OS can be the same copy, but, when running, it either loads a lot of features or as few as the form-factor can handle. I think Microsoft has finally got the seamless interaction between all the form-factors correct.

The Management consultant
The Management consultant

A company is going nowhere under this ceo.Stock traders give him 6 months.Its a fare comment that ms lack focus,business professionals and strategy.Putting a salesman in charge as a patsey was a posisen pill from BG.After six years of failure it decides to copy Google in developing cloud services which is sometime off.It makes a number of mid term low yeilding investments,stocks fall to very low levels,stockholder want the CEO out,In desperation it launches windows 8 before its ready to plug the income gap in the balance sheet.Google,Apple,Opensource disappear in a cloud to win the prize..... Moral of this story is that monopolies are unstable.

fvazquez
fvazquez

Geez man!, I don't even get W7 right and they already are about to send the 8 out?... when MS released W7 was understandable because of the bugs and errors in Vista, but I feel W7 very stable. I don't even uset W7 at home, I like Xp pretty much...

chaz15
chaz15

So where is the market for Win 8? Given how good win 7 is. Microsoft would be far better off commercially developing a touch tablet Windows OS then perhaps later or much later moving on from Win 7.

Kent Lion
Kent Lion

Really, "director of program management for the Windows User Experience"!? Sounds like Microsoft is betting that the user of the future won't be getting a computer as a tool for doing useful tasks wants, but as a "feel-good" extension of the ego (eyewash?). If that's what MS believes, and if they're correct, they'll succeed. My worry is that I have no use whatsoever for a desktop that tries to define my self for me. When I turn on my computer (and I don't leave it on), it's because there is a particular task I wish to accomplish NOW (not after wading through a scrap-bin full of "apps", or learning an entirely new way of "working", that is actually very much like how someone with AD/HD approaches life). My concern is not that Windows is becoming slow and difficult to navigate, it's been that since Vista. My concern is that Linux appears to be trying to do exactly the same things (recent attempt to upgrade to Ubuntu with Unity failed - seems a video card that can handle extended desktops doesn't meet Unity's requirements...). Trying to compete against cars that have gotten too big and thirsty with cars that have more features no-one really needed...making them bigger and thirstier...will just leave anyone who wants a good car without real options.

CC2k
CC2k

I couldn't agree more that a full touch system is not a smart Idea for anything other than portable devices, in fact I think they were more on track when OS writers were in pursuit of voice recognition control. Desk top and lap top machines fitted with touch OS is bad. It might seem kewl from the basis of movies like minority report etc, but it robs the individuals power. I've been a developer for over 25 years and I can't imagine myself trying to write programs, or do intricate art and photo work with a fuzzy, clumsy touch screen logic. Personally I will keep my clumsy, keyboard, Logitec Marble, table/pen. I will keep my old fashion looking OS, which by the way still relinquishes most of my CPU's cycles to me. I will remain master of my PC and in doing so will continue to sail the high seas of CyberAdventure in a world of increasing boundaries and limited ability to break out of the box. I touch screen world is a world of control, and you can only go where the controllers allow.

jmoore
jmoore

I have never read so much whining in all my life. Most you act as if Microsoft owes you personally or that you could do a better job developing and marketing the product yourself. They don't and you couldn't. So what if they miss the boat on this OS. They've done it before and it's always resulted in a better product.

TheNuttyArchitect
TheNuttyArchitect

Can we say ME, Vista, and now Win 8? Way to go MS on your consistent aim at making every other version of Windows suck. Guess the more things change, the more they stay the same in Redmond.

jimmeq
jimmeq

While the company is solidly in the black with its finances, I feel the company has lost sight of the future, and is following the leaders such as Apple, Google, and the Zuckerburg Empire. Tossing the public a new OS every three years is too fast. By the time we have accepted a new OS, the latest is just being released and typically does not have compelling features for users and business' to make the switch. I think in 10 years Microsoft will be forgotten while the world moves ahead with Chrome, and iPads. What happened to the concept of putting an OS on a chip?

rwsbertoli
rwsbertoli

Well looks like Microsoft has done it again. Looking at the video and your analysis it is clear that they are trying to please the "Geeks" and Gamers". The thing they keep forgetting is there are a lot of people out there that don't want "Glitz & Glamor". They want the PC for one reason (e-mail, collecting recipes, etc...) or another that is their reason not Microsoft's. I teach "Senior"s". Do you think they want what is in Windows 8. No they don't even want any of the junk in Vista & Windows 7, but they don't have any say so in the mater. Windows 7 was enough of a problem for them. XP has been and will be their best OS as it did what most people needed it to do and was way easier to network. U of I Internet Master rwsbertoli@yahoo.com

gabriel.tate
gabriel.tate

I think Microsoft could do allot to overcome this by allowing you to be able to add "roles" to whatever configuration of the OS you desire. As one commenter suggest, have a classic configuration available, you could have a tablet and several other base configurations. For us geeks out there, a role/ heavily customizable version that allows all aspects to be added, almost a base configuration similar to safe mode. Including the removal of every legacy plug and play driver ever made from installing.

FormerDomin8or
FormerDomin8or

Now, I hate to say this being a Mac person, but this does look really cool. However, I have a huge problem with what seemingly all of the big tech companies are doing, and I'm glad to see you agree. The way I see it, desktops should be desktops, and tablets and smartphones should be tablets and smartphones. Combining the OSs that run them-and then running it on the oft-gigantic desktop monitors-will NOT work as well as the companies think it will. Sure, tons of ??ber-??BER-casual computer users may love it, but I'm pretty sure the vast majority would be put off by it.

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

With the technology currently available, productivity apps are not productive in the touch environment. Heck, I've been given a netbook for work use; between the touchpad and the mini-keyboard, productivity apps are barely productive in that environment.

CC2k
CC2k

Well that's rather rude dude, since it was us basement dwelling geeks that got you started inthe first place. I am a basement dwelling geek and I can tell you that most of us know programming techniques that you will never be taught in a commercial class. Why, because as far as the FEDs and others are concerned, they wish we would all die and begone along with the knowledge they wish to bury. My OS runs fine and it they wish they could get into it. My servers have withstood the most ferocious attacks, why I modified and defined their OSs. My Desktop is as stealthy as one can expect to be as far as cloaking devices.... I am perhaps a bit insulted and pissed as as you look down your ivy league nose at garage geeks like me, but hey, I have Kung-Fu that you can only dream of, and yes eventually the last of us will die out, but in the mean time, just know that we are LAUGHING AT YOU SHEEP! LMFAO

Gerbilferrit
Gerbilferrit

..there's a lot of comments here by people who seem not to have even bothered to read the article or watched the video, also there's the "cool to diss MS crowd" too who have given their half arsed opinion and have failed to grasp the concept of switching UIs for different scenarios, thinking they're going to have to have "touch" desktops and other similar short-sighted presumptions. as a win phone 7 user it is a damn fine interface and seeing its ideas applied to a larger format is well exciting. There's a poster previous in the comments called jack who describes the issue he's suffering from having to carry separate tablets and laptops around with him - this dual interface solves this problem and there's no way the preferred choice of interface is going to be taken out of the users hands. sure, apps are going to target one side of the coin or the other, but "apps" and more hardcore productivity/creativity applications require different levels of screen detail given the possible complexity of the tasks they are expected to do. the user uses the right tool for the job, which fits the right environment, in one device. this is a total win in my eyes!

rschmidt
rschmidt

What you're (most likely) seeing in the video is a small glimpse into what the OS might look like on a tablet with no external devices in range. It should be very easy for the app size to shrink and the touch screen disable if the OS detects that a mouse and/or keyboard is in range. (I suspect the days of a plug-in mouse and keyboard are limited, and the future is some type of wireless) A quick glance at the top corner of the touch screen clearly showed a "Start" word, so I suspect that is the access to the traditional OS menu system.

seanferd
seanferd

I do believe geeks would be among the last sorts to tolerate that UI on a desktop. Internet Master, you do know that bots crawl the web looking for email addresses to sell and spam, yes? I know some people choose to post their addresses regularly, but I thought I'd mention it out of consideration anyway.

Albert Myles
Albert Myles

So, why does it have to be touch? Nothing in the presentations that in saw said that mouse operations and keyboard operations would not be enhanced as well. Just because they focused on touch doesn't mean they are not paying attention to other interaction method as well.

Gerbilferrit
Gerbilferrit

he's obviously a wannabe IT dude, probably put some ram in his desktop once and knows all about IT. @internet master - they don't have to use touch interface to do everything - get a grip!